Houshmandzadeh pleased to be Raven after quick 'Hawks exit

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- T.J. Houshmandzadeh is embracing his change of scenery with the Baltimore Ravens after signing a one-year, $855,000 contract Tuesday.

Cut by the new Pete-Carroll-led regime in Seattle only one year after signing a five-year, $40 million pact, Houshmandzadeh has gone from a rebuilding franchise to a Super Bowl contender.

"It's refreshing, man, to go from the situation I was in and come here," he said. "It's hard to explain, because you always want to be optimistic, and I'm an optimistic person at times, but it's hard to be optimistic when you know what you're going against.

"I'm coming to play with guys that are similar to me emotionally, the way they play the game and how they love the game. That's where I need to be."

The Ravens signed Houshmandzadeh, a 2007 Pro Bowl selection, after trading wide receiver Mark Clayton to the St. Louis Rams.

Houshmandzadeh, 32, is intent on showing he has a lot more football left in him after catching 79 passes for 911 yards and three touchdowns last season. And he wants to prove the Seahawks made a mistake by releasing him last weekend. Seattle owes him $7 million in guaranteed money for this year.

"Me not being there, I can promise you, had nothing to do with football," Houshmandzadeh said. "Nobody on that team beat me out. If they're honest with themselves, they know that. If you watch practice, it's obvious. For whatever reason, they did what they did. I'm not going to get to throwing rocks because I just don't want to."

Houshmandzadeh has caught 586 career passes for 6,693 yards and 40 touchdowns during his nine-year NFL career. He ranks third in the NFL in receptions (451) and first downs (283) and is tied for ninth in touchdowns (35) and 12th in yards (4,995) since 2005.

"You guys will see what I can do," Houshmandzadeh said. "I kind of got disappointed with what happened in Seattle, for real. I know I can play. I know I can get it done. They know I can get it done. I don't really want to comment on it, because it makes me really upset, but it happened."

Houshmandzadeh expressed confidence that everyone will be happy with the distribution of the workload among himself and fellow receivers Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason in Baltimore.

"As long as you win, it doesn't matter," Houshmandzadeh said. "Do I want the ball? Of course. And I'm sure they feel the same way. As long as you win games, it doesn't matter who gets the glory or who's getting the ball, because at the end of the day, everybody benefits when you win. I'm sure each of us will play a part in different games of playing the hero so to speak."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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